Community “investors” and entrepreneurs will gather Saturday, March 24, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Decorah Elks Club for an evening of networking, idea sharing and Winneshiek County’s adapted version of “Shark Tank,” which the Winneshiek Idea House (WIH) has aptly named “Trout Tank.”
The featured entrepreneurs for the Trout Tank are: Hannah Breckbill, Humble Hands Harvest organic farm; Joey Clarine, Shaking Tails cocktail bar and lounge; Trent Orth, Vahalla Spirits distillery and meadery; Caite Palmer, Prairie’s Edge Farm grass-fed beef and lamb; and Cody Whittle, Big Driftless regional apparel.
The five entrepreneurs will present their ideas and share what they need from the community to take their businesses to the next level. Everyone is welcome.
Happy hour begins at 5 p.m., followed by “Idea Fair & Share.” The first part of the evening is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and “investors” to network, share ideas, and receive/provide feedback. Sponsors also will be on hand to share resources for local entrepreneurs. Trout Tank will start at 7 p.m.
During the Trout Tank, five entrepreneurs will present their ideas and needs to the community. After each five-minute presentation, attendees will be able to ask clarifying questions. Then attendees will share out loud how they’re willing to support each entrepreneur. Community members may “invest” loans or gifts of money, use of space/facility, expertise, neighborliness, and more to support their favorite local enterprises.
At this event, everyone is an “investor.” WIH is investing in the resilience and sustainability of the local economy and community, and showing entrepreneurs they’re not alone.
Throughout the event, the community may contribute to a “Needs and Offers Wall” by sharing what they have to offer (e.g. pro bono legal advice, babysitting, or free advertising) and what they need (e.g. marketing consulting, office space, or stress relief). WIH representatives said they hope many great connections and opportunities for barter will happen this way.
To learn more and to register for the event, visit
WIH is a forum and fair to highlight and support local entrepreneurs and business ideas that contribute to the resilience and sustainability of Winneshiek County. WIH is a project of Decorah Now in collaboration with Winneshiek County Development, Inc. and America’s SBDC Iowa at Northeast Iowa Community College.